“The Polygamist is Political”: Muslim Women and the Issue of Polygamy in the West

Malaysian Muslim women protest against polygamy.

A few months ago, while reviewing one of my friend’s profiles on Facebook, I was surprised to see the amount of discussion that Shari’ah rulings regarding marriage provoke in the West.My friend, an orthodox Sunni Muslim and avid follower of the Hanbali school, had commented in a picture from 2010 that depicted Malaysian women protesting against the legality of polygamy.   The picture, while not shocking for many of us, seemed to bother a number of commentators across the globe. Some peopl … [Read more...]

Nothing is worse for a Saudi man than imagining himself a woman

This post was written by Eman Al Nafjan and originally appeared at her blog Saudiwoman's Weblog.Every Ramadan for the past sixteen years a show called Tash Ma Tash, which means something in the literal lines of "splash what may," is closely watched by almost every Saudi household. The show is a satire of Saudi society and it’s funny, to say the least. It’s also been prohibited by several sheikhs as un-Islamic, especially due to the actors’ portrayal of those very same sheik … [Read more...]

Big Love: Appropriating Feminism in Advocating Polygamy

Stories about polygamy tend to surge and ebb in the media, but they never fail to intrigue people. Recently in South Africa, a Zulu man married four women–all at once–making the most popular story on the BBC news website (you can watch the clip here). In the video, a male wedding guest gives a thumbs-up to the marriage(s), claiming that the "world" suffers from monogamous marriage breakdowns as a result of adultery. Later, the narrator serves up a classic: with all those wives, what man will hav … [Read more...]

Always an Unregistered Wife, Never a Bride

When I first read the BBC's article on Tajik women who are left destitute because their Islamic marriages (nikaah) were not recognized by the secular government in Tajikistan, I have to admit that I cringed and felt a bit defensive. Here was another story portraying Muslim women as poor victims of Muslim men but, even more importantly, of Islam itself. The headline reads "Legal limbo for Tajik Islamic brides (emphasis added)". Throughout the article, there is the constant reference to Islamic … [Read more...]


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